Cricket fans who watched the game through the 2000s were fortunate to see Chris Martin performing. He was a whole-hearted trier and, with Shane Bond often absent due to injuries, carried the pace bowling attack of New Zealand on his shoulders. But it was his batting which often amused the fans all over the world. He had the potential to be the number eleven in a team of number elevens.
In First-class cricket he went out to bat 244 times. He was unable to open his account on 128 occasions- he remained not out in 57 of them. That gives 71 ducks. 38 of them dismissed bowled .
In Test cricket, he batted 104 times. He was unable to score any run in 64 of them. He was not dismissed in 28 of them. So, 36 ducks. 20 of them dismissed bowled.
Staggering numbers for even a number eleven. It doesn't come as a surprise that he has taken more wickets in both Test and First-class cricket than he has scored runs in those two levels. He has company there, though.
The above list considers bowlers who took 100 or more wickets in Test cricket. Martin's wickets/runs ratio of 1.89 is way ahead of the next best competitor, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar's 1.45.
In first class cricket, the competiton is more fierce and Martin doesn't top the list when one considers bowlers who took 500 or more wickets at that level.
There are some famous names in this list. The ever unlucky Paddy Shivalkar, Eric Hollies, the man who stopped Bradman from getting a Test average of 100, Bill Bowes, who was part of that famous England side for the Bodyline series.
William Mycroft provided inspiration to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and helped him find a name for Sherlock's elder brother.
Our beloved 'Phantom' manages a rather ordinary 1.25 in the wickets/runs ratio column in this table and has been comfortably beaten by Chandrasekhar. The figures for Chandrasekhar, Bowes and Hollies need to be highlighted, just for the sheer amount of matches they played yet could not score enough runs to beat the number of wickets they took in their respective careers.
A curious case is former Surrey bowler David Sydenham. The number of runs he scored is equal to the number of wickets he took: 487.
A list that doesn't make the ones who made it very proud of their achievement but even these number elevens had their days of glory with the bat in hand.
Remember Pragyan Ojha when he made sure V.V.S. Laxman help India earn a famous victory over Australia at Mohali?
Or Chris Martin against India at Hamilton in 2009?
Jesse Ryder was on 98 when Martin walked out to bat. He had a tough ask of keeping five deliveries from Harbhajan Singh out. He did so, and helped Ryder reach his century in the very next over. "I was sweating bullets but it was lucky that Chris got through those five balls and saw me through to it," Ryder commented later.
So, besides enjoying the 'achievements' of these number elevens, we should also appreciate their honest efforts as batsmen.Published 11 Dec 2017, 11:34 IST